The biggest trend in New England landscape architecture at the moment? Bucking tradition.
A decade ago, New England landscapes most often took cues from the site: The style of the home, the feel of the neighborhood, the microclimates of the property. Today, on the other hand, it can seem like inspiration can come from just about anywhere.
“Thanks to sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz, people come into our office with photos of homes in Australia, California and Japan,” says Gregory Lombardi. “Our clients’ desires are transcending regionalism. They’re not just being influenced by their surroundings anymore.”
At its core, says Lombardi, the shift in aesthetics represents a broader change in mindset: today’s homeowners value individualism – often regardless of what the style of their home or neighborhood might dictate. “People want something made specifically for them. They don’t want to be part of the collective or confined to certain rules,” he says. “They may have a very traditional home in a very traditional neighborhood, but they’ll come into our office and say something like, ‘We moved here from the city and this style isn’t really us,’ so they want to go in a much more contemporary direction with the landscape.”
Lombardi’s challenge, then, becomes to conceive a design that honors the homeowner’s request, while creating a sense of connection between the property and what might be a contrasting style. “Sometimes, it’s almost like people are trying too hard to create a landscape that feels curated,” Lombardi says, “There’s a dissonance in the things they’re choosing to put together just to achieve something that feels individualized. In order to be unique but end up with a design that still enriches the site, it requires a juxtaposition of the two different styles you’re trying to marry – you have to have enough of each one to make it feel unified.”